No one could have prepared me for cancer. You can read people’s experiences and empathise, but being told, “it’s lymphoma” by a radiologist is a unique experience that you can never mentally prepare for. My immediate thought, like a lot of mothers, was ‘what about my kids?’ The next was, ‘what’s happens now?’
I was put on six cycles of chemotherapy treatment by my oncologist. At the beginning I found myself reacting to everything around me. I did not know what to expect at first, so it felt like I was on autopilot. Many people who have faced cancer will say your mindset switches to, ‘you’re experiencing it but it’s not you’ to get through it.
The learning curve with cancer is quite steep, I did not really know anyone who had experienced it before, and I wasn’t sure when treatment would start to affect me. The most challenging for me, was initially, hair loss. I read different people’s stories that not everyone will lose their hair, so I hoped maybe I would not. I pre-emptively cut my hair into this short bob, but I felt that hair loss was coming. So, I had my brother cut it even shorter. In my mind, I did not want to experience the hair loss, I wanted to control something.
I remember a few days later when I was in the shower and washing my hair and seeing it all fall out. That was one of the moments I bawled. I cried. Appearance is who you think you are, and with cancer you are a completely different person. It does not get more real than that moment.
I heard about Look Good Feel Better® when my Social Worker from the hospital suggested I attend the workshop. Just like I was not prepared for cancer, I was also not prepared for how impactful the workshop would be for my sense of self and mental health.
Everything up until then that related to my cancer was strictly through a medical lens. And that is important! Of course, it is key to have a great medical team to take care of you. But being in an environment where people care about something other than medication, appointments, and poking and prodding you with needles was invigorating. I loved finding that bit of normalcy. Well, my new normal.
Going in, I thought the workshop was strictly about skincare and beauty. But the workshops were incredibly in depth. I had a lot of questions answered that I did not even know I had! Attending a Look Good Feel Better workshop gave me hope that even if I am going through this difficult time in my life, I am still human. I am not alone in this. There are other women facing the same things as me, and we can still feel attractive and look good despite a cancer diagnosis. I learned that even though I can’t control how tired I feel or the fact that I’m losing my eyebrows, I can pick myself back up just by taking care of my skin—in a way that works for my newly sensitive skin—and that’s great.
With cancer you are going through something you have no control over. You are taking a leap of faith. So, having something to have control over, like your appearance, is so important, because you are surrendering everything else in the process. After feeling like cancer had taken center stage, attending a Look Good Feel Better workshop gave me the tools to re-center me in my life.
One gift, double the impact. From today until December 31st, you have the special opportunity to support women facing cancer, like Aisha. And our friends at Mary Kay Cosmetics Ltd. will match your gift, meaning it will go twice as far. *
*Until December 31st, Mary Kay Cosmetics will match individual donations, up to $25,000.